Sapphire Toxic HD 5970 4GB Reviewccokeman - April 27, 2010
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When you pop the Toxic out of the wrapper you can see right off the bat that the card and its cooling are huge. Huge in one respect, but when you get down to it, the Toxic HD 5970 is actually about half an inch shorter than the reference card, making fitment into a more modest chassis a possibility. The Toxic is built from a foundation of two Cypress Xt cores and a massive amount of memory to the tune of 4GB of GDDR5. The 40nm cores each are equipped with 4.3 billion transistors, 3200 Stream processors, 160 Texture units, 64ROP's and that 4GB of GDDR5 running through a 512bit (2x256) bus. The standard and even OC editions are often running the clock speeds of an HD 5850 at 725Mhz/1000Mhz or even just a little bump above the weak HD 5850 clocks to 735Mhz on the GPU cores and 1010Mhz on the memory. Not so with the Toxic. Sapphire must have spent some time binning chips to get the Toxic to run at 900Mhz on the two cores and 1200Mhz on the GDDR5 memory, as those are clock speeds that just blow away the stock 5970 frequencies. This of course comes with an expectation of performance, but the key is how well it delivers. To keep the thermals in check, Sapphire has gone out of house with the use of Arctic Cooling's HD5970 Xtreme cooling solution that takes the place of the reference cooling and takes it from a two slot to a true three slot cooling solution. Not as aggresive as the water cooling setup used on the HD 4870x2 Atomic card, but close.
The Toxic HD 5970 4GB video card says Eyefinity all over it but the connectivity does not include enough connections for six monitors, but definitely comes with enough for a nice three monitor setup with the 2 Dual Link DVI ports and Mini DisplayPort connections. The included mini to standard Displayport adapter and and active adapter make Eyefinity a reality with this card. All you have to supply is the monitors. The rear end of this card is does not have much to show other than a fan connection and the rubber isolation blocks for the Arctic Cooling heat sink. From a side view, you can see just how the heat sink does its job by following the heatpipes over the cores and into the fin array.
The Toxic is Crossfire capable and can be connected to either another HD 5970 Toxic, for a Quad cor Crossfire setup or you can run it with an HD 5870 for a tri core CrossfireX setup. You can only hook up to one other card based on the single bridge connection. The power source to this card is two 8pin PCIe connections, showing that Sapphire is playing to win and offering the highest clocks you can get.
The Arctic Cooling Xtreme HD 5970 is a massive cooling solution that hard mounts to the card with a series of screws. The backplate used on the board gives it not only structural rigidity, but a heat sink for the 2GB of memory modules riding on the back side of the Toxic. The cooling solution uses three 92mm fans to push a large amount of air through the fin array. The Xtreme HD 5970 cooler uses a series of heatpipes connected to a copper contact plate and aluminum fin array. Attached over the rear of the card is a fairly stout heat sink over the VRM circuit. This heatsink is designed to handle only 300 watts of thermal load while the stock solution was designed to handle a more robust 400 watts.
The Toxic uses two Cypress Xt cores to reach a pretty stout set of clocks of 900Mhz on the two cores and 1200Mhz on the GDDR5 memory. In between the cores, you have a bridge chip that has an AMD stamped heat spreader on what has been in the past a PLX technologies chip. Each of the two cores carries a total of 1600 streaming processors, 32 ROPs and 80 texture units with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. T\he memory on this card is supplied by Hynix and is able to be pushed to higher than stock clock frequencies.
Time to cut to the chase and take a look at just what this card can do in our updated OCC testing.